Mediation with Ontario education workers set to resume November 1

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Mediation with Ontario education workers to resume November 1

A significant gap separates the Ontario School Board Council of Unions' wage demands from the Ford government's offers.

Three days of mediation between the Ford government and the school support workers union failed to reach an agreement to avoid a strike.

Both sides had brought in private mediator William Kaplan to try to break the deadlock in contract talks. The mediator has concluded that the parties are too far apart and that mediation should be adjourned, the union said on Wednesday.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 55,000 teachers' aides, janitors and administrative workers in schools, and the government have agreed to resume the process on November 1. The number of days of mediation planned has not been specified.

In the event of the failure of this new round of talks, the Council of Unions of the school boards of the #x27;Ontario (CSCSO), which is a CUPE member, has not ruled out a walkout in early November. He will have to give notice before calling a strike.

Council of Trade Unions chairwoman Laura Walton said that in previous negotiations the work-to-rule had not exerted enough pressure. In 2019, a last-minute settlement was reached the day before a planned strike.

The two sides publicly discussed their disagreement over pay. The union is asking for an 11.7% wage increase, while the Ford government is proposing increases of 2% for workers earning less than $40,000 and 1.25% for other union members.

Minister Stephen Lecce calls the union's wage demands “unreasonable”. (Archives)

Education Minister Stephen Lecce for his part accuses the union of having unreasonable demands and of trying to disrupt classroom learning by refusing to compromise.

The Ford government has been saying since the summer that students must stay in class for the entire school year after a two-year pandemic that caused schools to close for long periods.

Parents can be assured that this government will not waver in its determination to keep all students in the classroom, where they need to be, the minister wrote in a brief statement. The Ford government has not ruled out passing special legislation in the event of a strike.

The School Board Council of Unions Ontario is holding a protest at a Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario event Saturday noon to lobby the government.

The province is also currently negotiating with teachers' unions for renewal of their collective agreements.

With information from La Presse canadienne

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